On the final day of the 2008 Indianapolis Fringe Festival, after spending a lot of time on Mass. Ave. just chatting and relaxing with new and old friends, I walked over to the Phoenix Theatre to catch Taylor Martin’s new magic show.
Martin creates characters that make his magic shows more amusing and intriguing than shows that are just a collection of tricks, but I enjoy his tricks, too.
Last year, I enjoyed his portrayal of Rodney the Younger in a show called “Dexterity of Hand.” I did not get a chance to write much about that show anywhere, but I remember being interested in the information Rodney shared about the history of magic as a performance art.
This year Martin has brought back a character that veteran Fringe attendees will remember from 2006: Andrea Merlyn. This year’s show is called “Andrea Merlyn’s Magic Show: Glamour Redux.”
However, this year’s show actually includes more than one character. Martin’s wife, Debbie, plays “Fez,” the long-suffering assistant, for example.
Taylor Martin plays not only the glamorous Andrea Merlyn but also a gypsy known as Madame Esmerelda. She truly frightened me with her guillotine trick involving a volunteer from the audience. I thought for sure that man’s head was going to be chopped off and roll right across the stage!
Martin also changes his wig and other costume elements to play one or two other semi-gorgeous, semi-wacky characters, all the while keeping up a schmaltzy responsiveness to the audience. For some of the tricks, the props were too small for me to see, but I didn’t mind much because I was enjoying the patter.
For some of the jokes, the musical background was too loud and I couldn’t hear what Martin was saying. But then I didn’t mind much because I was enjoying the visuals. Drag fascinates me.
Taylor Martin hosts a monthly magic show that features a variety of local and visiting magicians at the Theatre on the Square. The next one will be on Tuesday evening, October 7, 2008. Before that, Martin and other magicians will be at the Mass Hysteria fundraising block party for TOTS on Saturday, September 20, 2008.
Hope Baugh – www.IndyTheatreHabit.com